Bill to overhaul Pennsylvania pension benefits on fast track

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Legislation supported by Gov. Tom Wolf to overhaul benefits in Pennsylvania’s two big debt-saddled pension systems is on a fast track.

Monday’s 40-9 vote in the Senate is expected to be followed by swift House action this week to send the just-unveiled bill to Wolf’s desk.

Wolf’s office says he supports the bill’s goals of paying down the pension debt on the current schedule, reducing pension fund investment fees and shifting investment risk away from taxpayers.

The bill would slash the traditional pension benefit for most state government and public school employees hired after 2019, and introduce a 401(k)-style benefit. Actuaries say it wouldn’t reduce near-term pension obligations for the state and school districts, and provides a smaller retirement benefit for new system members.

It wouldn’t reduce benefits for current public employees or retirees.

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